December 2017 Travel

Adventures Of A Midwest Married Couple- Los Angeles & Las Vegas

Dylan & I like “cheap vacations”

We actually physically can’t vacation if we don’t feel like we’re getting a deal. We adjust the dates of our flights to match the cheapest airlines (with broken seats, where you pay for water and don’t get a carry on). Dylan even has a credit card that gives him points for the Hyatt so we can stay for free at hotels. We’re deal people. So I’m kinda well traveled to these two distinations, and to be honest, Los Angeles and Las Vegas are the best bang(s) for your buck. So today, we’re going to deep dive those a little, and help you save a few dollars on your trip.

To start off, on saving with the costs, but also getting to do the most, rent. a. car. If Sixt is an option, look to them for Rental Car prices. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with Expedia.

Here are five things to do in Los Angeles and five things to do in Las Vegas to fully enjoy vacation mode. I am *moderately* familiar with both places, but have never lived in either, so as you read this- take it from a vacationing stand point, and not from a local insider’s standpoint. Side note, most of the links I’m providing in this post are from TripAdvisor. They already did the work to link to the appropriate tickets, etc. I did not get paid by TripAdvisor and am not affiliated with them on this post, but hollah for a dollah TripAdvisor is you want to work together… 

Las Vegas, Nevada

1. The High Roller

Dylan’s going to disagree with me, because he is not a fan of heights, but this is one of the only things on this list that costs actual money and it’s so much fun. Think of a ferris wheel, but indoors, and you entire vacation friend list can fit. Costs start around $20.00, but you can upgrade to Happy Hour where you can move and drink, or rent out an entire pod for a private experience. The movement part is hardly noticeable, unless you’re my dad or Dylan who spent most of the ride gripping the bars and refusing to look down. The views are amazing, you can see the entire strip and then some and it actually takes a significant amount of time, so for all intents and purposes, it’s worth the cost. Definitely recommend. You can purchase tickets, reserve spots, see times, etc HERE. (See a picture of my High Roller view below)

2. Let social media know you’re in #LasVegas

It’s that easy. If you are going to Vegas and you want to experience Vegas, just let social media know. There are promoters who’s actual jobs are to scour hashtags to find groups of women, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and groups of people who want to experience the night life, and upgrade them. I’ve told pretty much everyone I’ve ever talked to about Vegas, to post the hashtags #WhatHappensInVegas, #LasVegas, #Vegas, or #”YourHotelName”, and you will be contacted. I threw up a hashtag when I took off from MSP airport, and had five DMs when I landed. They want to pump these clubs to the brim. Chelsie and I got into Tao for free. Another friend got into a club and upgraded to VIP to see The Chainsmokers for free. I’ve met others who were brought into 1Oak to party with Scott Disick because they tweeted about their hotel. This. Rocks.

*Normally you’ll get a DM or a Facebook Message asking you to text a number. It’s not sketchy, that’s generally how promoters work. If you feel uncomfortable, be sure to use personal caution and never give away any personal info. In my personal experience, they only asked for my name, never any address or any other information.

3. Hotels Are Free?

Yep, as lame as this may sound, touring the hotels is free entertainment. 1. Las Vegas has almost as good of people watching as the Minnesota State Fair. 2. The hotels change decor constantly. 3. Each hotel is unique. You can walk through the scaled down version of New York City inside New York New York, or walk across the street and be in Renaissance times at The Excalibur. It’s something that you can do, while holding alcohol, while being with your friends, while trying to sober up from the night before or pregame for the current night’s festivities, and it takes a pretty significant amount of time. Dylan made me go into every single hotel, and buy a $1.00 chip at a casino table, so he could bring them home and collect them. That took like six hours, just as a measure, in case you’re like Dylan… (never again.)

4. What To Eat?

You’re going to think that eating fast food would be the easiest, until the $4.00 price tag on the Mcdouble changes your mind. This is your splurge, and this is the splurge to use. Most hotels have their own buffet, and those are worth the price tag. If you’re looking for something different, pretty much every single Food Network chef has a place to eat, and many of your celebrities endorse “a favorite spot”. If all else fails, there’s now an In N Out burger on the strip, so at least you can say you tried it.

Here’s the best in my opinion: Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar, Gordon Ramsey Pub & Grill, & Eat

Here’s an article about restaurants that have lobster and crab and things on the menu that most people eat, that I never would. HERE

5. Drink. Drank. Drunk.

Don’t buy the three foot tall drinks! It’s going to run you $30.00 and you’re going to crash with a sugar-alcohol headache. Listen to me closely, and listen to me clear. Go to CVS Pharmacy, on the strip. Walk to the aisle with alcohol. You can get a Tall Boy PBR, Miller Lite, etc for about $3.00. You can get Vodka, and entire bottle of Vodka for about $12.00. You’re going to get your Henny for cheap. Take that, go to your hotel room, pre-game, and be lit before you leave. Then, you can nurse one $8.00 drink at a club, and be totally content, instead of being $300.00 deep in shots and liquor and debt. It’s so not the Vegas way, but your wallet and your sugar headache will thank you.

Los Angeles, California

1. Drive up the coast

When Dylan and I went to California, we took a day to visit San Luis Obispo. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my entire life, this quaint little city inside of mountains, hills, desert, and ocean. It was stunning. If you have the chance, and if you’ve rented a car, go on PCH (yes, just like Zoey 101) and just take a couple hours to go in either direction. A lot of Los Angeles is dirty, but once you’re out of the city and the traffic, you get to see a whole lot of pretty. 

2. Beverly Hills, That’s where I wanna be.

I hate myself for this one, but I have to. If you’re going to play tourist, at all, Beverly Hills is the place. You can’t afford the Starbucks menu, and you can’t park because if you door ding the person next to you it’s probably a Bentley and you just lost your savings account. But this area is every rich character in a movie, and every Bravo celebrity, and everything you think California to be all in one. Just go there, drive through it, take a picture with the sign, and let this be the only tourist stop. Side note, one time Chelsie, Morgan, and I went to California in December. It was like 75 degrees there, and about 15 back home. We thought we were so cool, that we dressed up in bandage skirts and blazers and went to Rodeo Drive. We looked like three hookers who had lost their way, and everyone was staring at us. We got Starbucks, saw Jesse McCartney, and went back to the hotel.

3. The Beach, duh?

If you get a sunny day (which is difficult with the amount of smog in Los Angeles), take a trip to the beach. The waves, boardwalks, and the ocean in general is worth spending three hours at. You normally can park in a lot, for a few bucks, and you can walk around to see a lot of area. Every time I’ve gone to California, I’ve ended up at a different beach, and it’s been great. Huntington Beach is every character from the show Laguna Beach, with their blonde hair and Roxy surf gear. Venice Beach is pretty, but parts are kinda dirty. Going to Santa Monica Pier is just fun, and there’s a lot to do. There’s a million beaches, and as you get further from the core of LA, the nicer they get, so just keep that in mind. 

4. Griffith Observatory

I’m just going to link to Griffith here, and tell you that while it takes about an hour with traffic to get UP the hill to park, it was so amazingly gorgeous and so much fun to walk around, it was worth the time it took. All the info about it can be found HERE. Overall, this was on of my favorite parts about LA, because it shows that California can be beautiful. You get very caught up in the glamour that you see on TV, and then you land on a plane and sit in smog and traffic. Things are so busy, because everyone like you wants to see where celebrities live, that you’re in a can of sardines the whole time. Getting up to Griffith gives you some space to breathe. 

5. What not to do…

I’m going to be the one who says it. Hollywood is a dump. The walk of fame is full of homeless people. Everything is expensive and it all costs too much money. Everything that is Hollywood Blvd is tacky and expensive, and it’s going to ruin California for you. Do a little Instagram research, and search on the things that your heart wants, not what you think you need to do while you’re there. If you go in thinking that you’re going to see celebrities, going to see every single thing that LA has to offer, and get to do it all during your vacation- well, hopefully you booked a solid 14 days. There’s a lot going on there, and a lot of it is a let down. (Also, do so much hotel research. I ended up in a hotel for 68.00 a night. Thought it was an Expedia steal, it had feral cats and carpet up the walls. Just go to the Raddisson, the Hyatt, ANYTHING YOU KNOW.)

I hope this was slightly, maybe, a bit helpful. Considering Dylan and I have found a way to spend virtually no money on vacationing, this has been our best way to “see things” without having to spend to see them. We’ve been to both Los Angeles and Las Vegas multiple times, and it’s all find & dandy to want to splurge on your vacation, but sometimes the free stuff is more fun. (Literally, way more fun) Side note, in most of the Las Vegas attractions, you won’t even need to use any transportation other than your feet, but you should absolutely pay for the daily bus pass, it’s so worth it. There will be a point in your day of walking where you need to get back to your hotel and you need to get off of your feet. That bus, man, will save you. In most of Los Angeles, you sit in a car. In traffic. All the time. If you rent a car, rather than Uber, you’re going to save money in the long run. Just a tip. I’ve only been to L.A. having rented a car, and I’ve hear horror stories about the cost of Ubering with surges and traffic…

Happy Vacationing!


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